Re: Sculpting vs casting
As for me, each step is my own with the exception that I take a wax to the foundry and get a welded but not grinded, rough cast back from them.
My greatest joy is in the sculpting, and the other stages for me are just neccessary steps to arrive at a finished work, but are way less enjoyable than creating something out of nothing and having it "breath life".
I took a bronze casting class a year into my start as a sculptor, and realized that it would be a waste of my time, talent, and resources to pursue that part of the process since there are facilities and people set up to do such work who focus on that full time. If I lived in a remote area where those rescources did not exist it might have me reconsidering, but fortunately there is an excellent foundry ( Casting Creations ) about 1 1/2 hours away, and a mediocre one 45 minutes away. There used to be a really good one 20 miuntes away until the owner passed away and the business was disbanded.
As it is, there is not enough time and energy in one embodiment to create all the work that I would like to, which also involves mural painting and other media of expression. As a painter, I do not find it necessary to weave canvas or grind pigments to create my own paint, as there are experts who do that for me. That is how I would compare the casting of my work into bronze.
Any foundry of quality can cast bronze to a standard that works for me, but as an artist there is no one else to whom I can expect will translate my unique vision from mind to physical expression, so that is where the focus needs to be. I could in fact pass on to others the mold making, wax pouring, grinding, and patina stages except that economics and a desire to control the results are crucial factors there as well.